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Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

125 BROAD STREET, NEW YORK 10004-2498, USA
Work +1 212 558 4000
Fax +1 212 558 3588

John Estes

Work +1 212 558 4349
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP


Partner since 2002. Managing Partner, Corporate and Finance Group; co-head, Credit and Leveraged Finance practice; former Managing Partner, Australian Practice. Particular expertise in SEC-registered and Rule 144A debt/equity capital markets transactions, credit agreements, leveraged financings, secured/unsecured high yield financings and acquisition finance. Also has experience in M&A, joint ventures and natural resource-based project finance. Represents issuers/borrowers in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, financial institutions, mining and oil & gas, telecommunications, healthcare and retail, as well as numerous underwriters and lenders.


New York Law School (JD, 1995); University of Buffalo (BS, 1986).

United States: Finance

Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings

Within: Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings

Among the best in this area’, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP receives strong praise for its ‘strong technical expertise’ and ‘ability to explain complex concepts well’. The practice, which focuses principally on issuer-side representations, acts for several notable repeat corporate issuers in the high-yield market, including Dish Network and United Rentals. Key contact Robert Downes, who co-heads the general practice group, is ‘unflappable and creative’ and advised Standard Industries on its $500m offering of senior high-yield notes. Ari Blaut - ‘an extremely impressive younger partner’ - had a very strong year, which included assisting Andeavor with its $1.6bn offering of high-yield notes to finance its acquisition of Western Refining. In another set of headline deals, Neal McKnight, who co-heads the firm’s finance and restructuring department, and Downes advised United Rentals on three high-yield offerings totaling $2.1bn. John Estes and Scott Miller are also key names in the largely New York-based team.

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Commercial lending

Within: Commercial lending

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has an excellent track record for borrower work, particularly for corporate clients who take up about 70% of the team’s workload. The practice can regularly be found on some of the largest corporate deals to hit the market. Notably it acted as finance counsel for Gartner in the $3.9bn financing for its acquisition of CEB, a deal which involved several different debt instruments including an $800m bond offering. Another highlight was representing INC Research Holdings in a $3.1bn loan to finance its acquisition of inVentive Health. The firm was also active on the private equity front and represented Ares Management on the $680m financing required for its acquisition of a 70% stake in healthcare company DMG Practice Management Solutions. The highly rated John Estes and S. Neal McKnight jointly lead the team, which also includes the well-regarded Ari Blaut.

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Project finance

Within: Project finance

Overall service is excellent’ at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP where the New York-based team is ‘uniformly strong in intellect, negotiating, deal management, associate management and business judgement, as well as being pleasant people to deal with.’ The practice is particularly recommended for its work in the mining sector, where recent mandates include Sergio Galvis and Inosi Nyatta providing ongoing advice to Sierra Gorda on the finance for the Sierra Gorda copper-molybdenum project in Chile; and Galvis and Christopher Mann assisting sponsors with various copper mining projects in Peru. Another strength is the LNG sector; Nyatta and John Estes handled a number of billion-dollar mandates for Cheniere Energy concerning the Cheniere Corpus Christi LNG export facility, including a $1.5bn offering in senior notes. On the infrastructure side, Mann was active on investment work in the US and overseas, and in one key deal he advised Pocahontas Parkway and Macquarie on the $600m sale of the Pocahontas Parkway in Virginia to Globalvia.

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United States: Industry focus

Energy transactions: oil and gas

Within: Energy transactions: oil and gas

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York office is regularly engaged on ‘board level’ international and domestic M&A and financings for midstream and downstream operators such as Tesoro and Transportadora de Gas. Recent work includes Joseph Frumkin and George Sampas advising Enbridge on its $43bn merger with Spectra Energy, and Inosi Nyatta and John Estes acting for Cheniere Energy on various billion-dollar bond offerings. Werner Ahlers and Christopher Mann were highly active for key client Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

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